Heads of New Departments of Immigration, Identification Sworn In

Interior Minister Sar Kheng presided over a ceremony in Phnom Penh on Thursday to appoint the directors of his ministry’s new general departments of immigration and identification, who have both stood down as National Police deputy commissioners to take up the positions.

At the ceremony, General Chan Ean, a deputy National Police commissioner, read from an April 12 Royal Decree appointing Sok Phal as the new director-general of the general department of immigration, and Mao Chandara as the director-general of the general department of identification.

According to a separate April 1 sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, which General Ean also read, the new general department of immigration will be composed of five separate departments, with powers transferred from the General Commissariat of National Police.

There will be a department for immigrants, foreign non-immigrants, private-investor immigrants, international checkpoints and statistics.

The general department of identification will similarly be composed of departments for birth certificates, national identification cards, passports, citizenships, and statistics, according to the sub-decree.

General Chandara said in a speech that he and General Phal would continue to work closely with National Police despite their shifts to the Interior Ministry and retirement as a deputy police commissioner.

“We will continue to cooperate with the General Commissariat of National Police, the other general departments of the Interior Ministry and other institutions to obtain successes, guarantee social safety, protect the security of society, and defend national territory,” Gen. Chandara said.

At the ceremony, Gen. Ean also read a decision made Wednesday by Mr. Kheng to assign Interior Ministry secretaries of state to watch over the new general departments. Ouk Kimlekh will help the new immigration department and Prum Sokha will assist the identification department, he said.

Mr. Kheng noted in his speech that he and National Police Commissioner General Neth Savoeun have agreed to promote three officials to become National Police deputy commissioners, pending a sub-decree.

The three will be Kirth Chantharith, spokesman for the National Police; Thorng Lim, director of its central security department; and Chhay Sinarith, director of its internal security department, Mr. Kheng said.

Seng Phally, the former rector of Human Resources University and an advisor to Mr. Kheng, was also sworn in at Thursday’s ceremony as the new director of the Police Academy of Cambodia, replacing the outgoing Ma Chhoen.

Interior Ministry spokesman General Khieu Sopheak said by telephone after the ceremony that the transfer of duties from the National Police Commissariat to parallel bodies in the Interior Ministry was not to reduce Gen. Savoeun’s power.

“Sar Kheng mentioned that… he had been talking with the prime minister and he’s not taking power from Neth Savoeun. There will still be close cooperation between the National Police and the general departments of immigration and identification,” Gen. Sopheak said.

(Additional reporting by Alex Willemyns)

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